2 rare bikes and a 14-karat gold Huffy among bicycling treasures in Dayton

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Dayton is known for bicycling innovation and interesting bits of history are on display close to home.

There are only five bicycles built by Orville and Wilbur Wright remaining in the world.

“We have two of them,” Brady Kress, president and CEO of Dayton History, said.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

They are both Van Cleve models and can be seen in the Wright Brothers National Museum at Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd.

The Van Cleve, the Wright Cycle Company’s first model, was named after their paternal great-grandmother, Catherine Benham Van Cleve Thompson, one of Dayton’s first settlers.

Dozens of rare and antique bicycles are on display in the Dayton Cyclery building at the park.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

The collection has an emphasis on the Miami Valley’s role in bicycle evolution. By the mid 20th century, Dayton’s Huffy Corp. supplied more bicycles than any region in the world, Kress said.

Numerous Huffy bikes, including a gold-plated bike produced by the Huffman Manufacturing Company, can be seen at the park.

The golden bike, the one millionth produced by the company on May 13, 1947, is made with a chrome frame plated with 14-karat gold.

Visitors to the Wright Cycle Company Complex, 16 S. William St., can learn more about the Wright brothers as bicycle builders.

The Wright Cycle Company building was one of the locations where the Wrights operated their business from 1895 to 1897.

Inside this shop, managed by the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park, are tools and bikes from the time that reflect the changes in bicycle styles of the period to the new “safety” bicycles.

The Wright brothers manufactured their own brand of bicycles which gave them the experience and capital needed to experiment in powered human flight.

The Wright Cycle Co. Bike Shop and the Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center are currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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